Public Policy Update: Wilder Showing up at the (Virtual) State Capitol

2/11/21 by Dominic McQuerry

Over the past couple of weeks, Wilder staff and research has been showing up on a range of issues at the Minnesota legislature. Here are just a few of the highlights!

Education

On February 10, 2021, the House Education Finance Committee heard House File 156, a proposal to support Education Partnership Members including the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood. You can see the coalition’s powerful testimony here! – jump to around minute 48 of the video.

The Achievement Plus team is engaged in a coalition of supporters of the Full-Service Community School model. House File 4, which contains funding, was heard in the House Education Finance Committee on Jan. 28. The next day, A+ staff met with Eastside Rep. John Thompson to discuss the model further.

Behavioral Health

Working with our partners at NAMI-MN, Wilder has been leaning into a large proposal to better support behavioral health trainees and the organizations doing the training. Recognizing the inequitable barriers to licensure that can exist, this bill includes a proposal to create alternative pathways to licensure for practitioners.

Homelessness

Showing the power of good research, the Minnesota Homeless Study by Wilder Research and its partners has been cited by legislators and testifiers during nearly every meeting of the new House Preventing Homelessness Division. The study was also highlighted during a recent House Human Services Committee hearing regarding a bill for increased funding for emergency shelters.

Black History at the Legislature

Happy Black History Month! On February 1, newly elected Representative Cedrick Frazier (45A) posted a Twitter thread about the Black legislators who came before him in the Minnesota Legislature. From 1849-2020 only 14* people who identified as Black had ever been elected to the Minnesota Legislature. Four new members (including Rep. Frazier) were elected in 2020, bringing the number up to 18. Take a moment to read through his quick thread if you get a chance.

*The legislature disaggregates Somali-American legislators from other Black identifying legislators. An additional four Somali-Americans have been elected to the Minnesota Legislature.

Advocate for Policy Change with Our Partner Coalitions

Two great opportunities are coming up from coalitions that Wilder partners with to advocate for policy change!

(Virtual) Homeless Day on the Hill – March 9 – 11

Due to COVID-19, the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless (MCH) will be hosting a multi-day virtual day on the hill. There will be opportunities to hear from speakers and to engage with legislators each day. Be on the lookout for more details soon on the MCH website.

(Virtual) Mental Health Day on the Hill – March 11

The Mental Health Legislative Network (MHLN) is hosting a virtual version of their annual day on the hill. The event will begin with an hour long kick-off event, followed by virtual visits with legislators. If you are interested in meeting with your legislator to discuss the importance of investing in a strong behavioral health system, sign up using this google form.

Nervous about the idea of meeting with a lawmaker? You won’t be alone for these visits! MHLN and MCH will group constituents together to meet with their elected officials.

 

POLICY PRO CORNER

In each update we will include a tip, strategy or resource that will help you to improve your policy and advocacy skills. All policy and advocacy tips can be found here.

Tip #2: Seek out alternative points of view

In our era of heightened divisions and easily located echo chambers this can be a difficult and unappetizing task. The point of this isn’t necessarily to change your mind on an issue.

Reading an article about how and why people view an issue differently than you can help to clarify how to refine your position or approach to convince undecided people. To be clear, this only applies to good faith disagreements that are based in reality and not craven attempts to sow division.